Lab Commitment to Inclusion

The philosophy of the Animal Migration Research Group is to cultivate an environment where all members can bring their full selves to the table, thereby enabling us to do good science, learn from each other’s unique contributions, and achieve our personal and professional goals. In our academic setting, we are mindful of the power imbalance inherent in our positions and of the ways that many groups have faced discrimination and exclusion from the sciences. We understand that safe, inclusive, and harassment-free environments must be actively cultivated in our day-to-day interactions. Thus, it is the responsibility of each of us to contribute to a supportive and welcoming lab culture for everyone with whom we interact, including PIs, postdocs, students, interns, staff, collaborators, visitors, and the public. To this end, our research group does not tolerate discrimination, harassment, or intimidation. Participants asked to stop discriminatory behavior are expected to comply immediately. As we strive for a personally meaningful and productive work environment, we understand we will make mistakes and, when those mistakes happen, we commit to calling each other in with kindness and to responding respectfully and with an openness to growth.

Current Lab Members

Photo of Emily CohenEmily Cohen (she/her)
Principal Investigator
Research in Dr. Cohen’s laboratory broadly aims to understand animal migration biology in the context of the full annual cycle and the application of this information toward the inclusion of stopover and airspace habitats into conservation and management efforts for migratory species.

Joely Desimone (she/her) Photo of Joely Desimone
Assistant Research Scientist
Joely’s current project is combining weather radar data with historical bird banding data to study bird migration from a community ecology perspective: how species interactions influence where and when birds stopover during migration. She completed her PhD at the University of Montana on seasonal and nomadic migratory decisions. Joely was recently awarded an NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship in Biology to expand her current project to incorporate interactions between migrants and residents, read more here.

Claire Nemes (she/her) Photo of Claire Nemes
Assistant Research Scientist
Claire’s current project focuses on identifying important stopover habitat in Maryland and identifying threats to those critical habitats. Claire completed her PhD in the lab in 2023 on songbird migration phenology, non-lethal anthropogenic impacts on migrating birds, and effects of free-roaming domestic cats on birds during the migration and non-breeding seasons. See her recent PhD paper, More than mortality: Consequences of human activity on migrating birds extend beyond direct mortality

Photo of Luke DeGrooteLuke DeGroote (he/him)
PhD Student
Luke DeGroote is studying the ecology of migrant landbirds including stopover habitat characteristics and use, migration strategy and phenology, and avian perception of patterned glass.  He is also the Avian Research Coordinator at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s Powdermill Avian Research Center where he oversees the long-term bird banding operation.

Brian Tsuru Brian Tsuru
PhD Student
Brian’s research focuses on the communities of birds that migrate together across North America every year. His work will integrate radar aeroecology (understanding what factors drive the formation of stopover communities at a broad scale) and field methods (assessing evidence of interactions between co-migrating birds at a very fine scale). Brian received his MS from Ohio State University and previously worked on multiple projects with colleagues at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, IL.

Forever Lab Members with new positions

Photo of Megan MassaMegan Massa (she/her), MS completed 2023
Megan studied the response of grassland birds to management in National Battlefield Parks. Her project also incorporated communication of her science through her artwork and design. She is now a Project Coordinator for Earth Commons Institute at Georgetown University and the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center.


Alex Donley Alex Donley
Undergraduate intern (2023)
Alex is currently working towards his undergraduate degree at Frostburg State University, majoring in Wildlife & Fisheries. Alex’s research examined the relationship between flight call and species specific interactions, specifically, how call similarity may drive when and how species migrate.

A’laurenye’ McBeth
Undergraduate intern (2022)
A’laurenye’ recently graduated from Frostburg State University, majoring in Wildlife & Fisheries.

Atlee Wise
Undergraduate intern (2022)
Atlee is currently working towards his undergraduate degree at Frostburg State University, majoring in Wildlife & Fisheries.


Animal Migration Research Group Collaborators

Radar Aeroecology

Aeroecology Program, University of Delaware, Dr. Jeff Buler

Radar Aeroecology, Lund University, Sweden, Dr. Cecilia Nilsson

Institute of Ecology INECOL, Mexico, Dr. Sergio A. Cabrera-Cruz

AeroEco Lab, Colorado State University, Dr. Kyle Horton

Migration Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Dr. Benjamin Van Doren

Migratory Connectivity

Bird Genoscape Project, Colorado State University, Dr. Kristen Ruegg

Migratory Connectivity Project, Amy Scarpignato & Dr. Pete Marra

USGS Eastern Ecological Science Center, Dr. Jeffrey Hostetler

Vermont Center for Ecostudies, Dr. Michael Hallworth

Bird Observatories, Banding and Tracking

Michigan State Bird Observatory, Dr. Jen Owen

Powdermill Avian Research Center, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Lucas DeGroote

Northeast Motus Collaboration, Lucas DeGroote

Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center

Applied Science

Appalachian Mountains Joint Venture, Amanda Duren and Dr. Todd Fearer

Hamer Lab of Disease Eco-Epidemiology, Texas A&M University, Dr. Sarah Hamer

Loss Lab of Global Change Ecology & Management, Oklahoma State University, Dr. Scott Loss

National Capital Inventory & Monitoring Network, National Park Service, Dr. Liz Matthews

Virginia working Landscapes, SCBI, Dr. Amy Johnson

Public Engagement 

Public Engagement with Science, UMCES, Dr. Cat Davis

Towson University Center for STEM Excellence, Dr. Mary Stapleton